Student COVID-19 cases rising says Auburn University Medical Clinic director

Student COVID-19 cases rising says Auburn University Medical Clinic director
Auburn University Medical Clinic Director Dr. Fred Kam says 24 students tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week after Memorial Day social events.

AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - The medical director for the Auburn University Medical Clinic says he’s seeing a rise in the number of positive COVID-19 tests from students coming into the clinic.

Dr. Fred Kam said 24 students tested positive last week and said all the cases were related to social gatherings. He said more testing and fewer restrictions on gathering are most likely contributing to the rise.

“There is no doubt in my mind we are seeing the after effects of Memorial Day parties, weekends at the lake or beach, and visits to some downtown venues,” Kam concluded.

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“What is most frustrating to me as a physician who keeps up daily with COVID information is the seemingly lax attitude that people, young and old, have toward adhering to the only preventive strategies that have worked so far."

Kam said its “incredibly frustrating” to visit a grocery store or other businesses and see how many people aren’t wearing masks or even attempting to distance themselves from others. The doctor said he hasn’t seen any cases related to gatherings from recent protests, but added "“it is still early in the timeline.”

Kam’s statements come from a report released by East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, which says its hospitalizations have stayed “relatively flat over the past two weeks” despite a rise in cases in Lee and Chambers counties.

However, that may not be the end of it since hospitalizations “tend to lag behind in an outbreak,” according to Kam.

EAMC says the fewest number of new cases in the past five days has been 16 for Lee County, but the week before there was only one day when there were 10 or fewer cases. That’s similar to numbers seen out of neighboring Chambers County.

Meanwhile, Alabama saw a record four consecutive days of more than 800 cases before a drop to around 600 cases Sunday.

“Young people need to understand the role they play in both spreading and preventing the spread of this virus," Kam said. “Older people need to model the strategies that have worked, like wearing masks, physical social distancing, hand hygiene and limiting your movements in public to what’s essential.”

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